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Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.
by L.M. Archer FWS, Bourgogne ML
Today’s Exclusive Interview: Diversity in Wine | Part 3 of 3
“You might be surprised to learn that I did not grow up in a household where fine wine was regularly consumed; nor am I a culinary expert,” shares Glynis Hill, today’s Diversity in Wine guest. “Instead, I am a scientist for whom wine is a marriage made in heaven between my technical background and the artistry of wine and culinary delights.”
A full-time Regulatory Impact Analyst/Environmental Scientist in Washington, DC., Glynis Hill also authors Vino Noire, a site dedicated to “Style and Quality for the Urbane.” I know her through a media tasting we both attended in Sonoma this past summer, where she stole the show with her engaging wit, passion, and eloquence.
Here, Glynis Hill shares her experiences navigating the world of wine in Part 3 of Diversity in Wine. I hope this series resonates with you. Please feel free to share your thoughts below in the ‘Comments’ section, and thank you again for taking time to engage in this important conversation.
r/T™: Glynis, you are a scientist with an appreciation for the technical, and a passion for the ‘artistry’ of wine. Who or what inspired you to enter the world of wine?
GH: I love the ideal of a vine stressing and digging deep into soil, and producing a fruit that becomes a commodity which is sold all over the world! My inspiration comes from the love of traveling, and what better vacation than traveling to viticultural locales around the world?
And as luck would have it, during a visit and wine tasting at Vision Cellars in Windsor California, vintner Mac McDonald (winemaker and vineyard owner) inspired me to get into the wine business.
r/T™: Walk readers through your journey thus far in the world of wine. What was it like taking that ‘leap of faith’? Did you have an ‘aha’ moment when you knew this was your path?
GH: A thirst to gain more than “novice” wine knowledge began while dining and being presented a wine list that resembled an encyclopedia. It was my mission to garner the meaning of a bin number, vintage, varietal, and how the wine-producing regions affected the wine in the bottle.
My “aha” moment was as an African-American female ordering a familiar red wine in a small rural town in North Carolina, and the bartender tried to make me feel like I didn’t know what varietal or which brand I ordered. I then explained to him I could “blind taste” that particular Cabernet Sauvignon anywhere, and that it was not the wine in my glass.
As he tried to debate me, an older Caucasian gentleman sitting at the end of bar asked to taste the wine in my glass. I handed him my glass, he tasted the wine and said, “that’s not the Cabernet Sauvignon she ordered,” apologized to me, and told the bartender to send a bottle to my table “on the house.” He was the owner of the restaurant:). That’s when I truly said I would immerse myself in the culture of wine.
r/T™: Any mentors who have helped or inspired you along the way?
GH: No, I don’t have any mentors in the business. However, I would love for Master of Wine Debra Meiburg to be my mentor. But as stated above, Mac McDonald was the one who suggested I get into the business.
r/T™: Any obstacles or challenges you’ve encountered?
GH: Challenge: At this time it’s balancing my full time job workload with my passion to do more wine related travel and events.
Obstacle and Challenge: Overcoming the perception that people of color aren’t wine savvy or educated about wine in general.
r/T™: As an African-American woman, do you find the world of wine embraces diversity? Or do you feel like you have to work twice as hard to earn credibility/acceptance?
GH: Yes and No and it depends…I have been the unfortunate recipient of wait[ing] and getting irritated and/or defensive when I ask questions about wines; questions they may not know the answers to, and assumed I shouldn’t either.
Overall, as an African-American woman, YES we have to work harder to earn credibility period end of story:). Hence, the reason I refused to start blogging without credentials first; I want to be taken seriously in this business. I felt acquiring WSET Level II at a minimum was essential!
r/T™: Do you have any favorite wine region(s)? Any favorite varietal(s)? Any favorite wine maker(s)?
GH: My favorite wine regions depends upon the wine varietal and style…Rosé from Provence, Pinotage from South Africa, and Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandels from California. Brown Estates [and] Turley Wines are my favorite winemakers.
r/T™: What’s the most memorable wine place/person/event you’ve encountered thus far?
GH: Domestically, Brown Estates, where Deneen, David, and Coral’s father personally gave me a tour of the wine cellar, which is augured [into] the mountain on their property; after the tour he shared his award-winning wines, and told us the story of his mother, a horticulturist who taught him the art of cultivating grapes.
Internationally, South Africa at the Mulderbosch Vineyard, where I got the chance to meet the actual “Faithful Hound” pictured on the bottle of their Bordeaux style red blend. The owner also gave me an unlabeled bottle of the wine to take back to the hotel to enjoy.
I can go on an on, but will give honorable mentions to wine tasting in Provence at Chateau de Saint Martin, and wine tasting in a quaint town in Tuscany.
r/T™: What is/are your goal(s) that you hope to achieve in the world of wine?
GH: My ultimate goal is be able to work in the wine industry full-time and travel the world!
r/T™: Anything else you’d care to share with readers?
GH: Don’t let wine intimidate you! The world of wine is not static – it is always evolving! Last but not least, be willing to step out of your comfort zone and taste new varietals and styles of wines!
r/T™: Finally, if your experience in the world of wine has taught you anything, it’s taught you…?
GH: No questions you have about wine is a stupid question – the only way you will learn and grow in the world of wine is to:
3) REPEAT steps 1 & 2 and you will LEARN about wine!
For more on Diversity on Wine:
Martin D. Redmond
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